Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

News Extra [these Stories Appear Only On The Web]

Pathologist in Sally Clark murder case is charged with withholding vital evidence

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 27 January 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:216

Rapid Response:

Re: Re: Re: A Fatal Misdiagnosis

I am sorry if I touched a raw nerve but I am unclear only as to the
sub specialities of Michael D Innis as compared with the experts who
actually gave evidence who between them covered just about all the
specific disciplines of pathology, neither of whom shared his views about
vaccinations. Neither am I familiar with Mediset International.

I acknowledge with gratitude that Dr Innis was one of a number of
professionals who offered their expertise pro bono. At a time when we
were struggling to make sense of it all this was marvellous for us and I
am pleased to re-iterate our sincere appreciation as my son-in-law did at the

Whilst Dr Innis may have seen the the initial (albeit flawed) post
mortem Reports he does not seem to acknowledge that, following the
discovery of hitherto undisclosed Reports (which is what the current GMC
enquiry is mostly about), eleven specialist experts effectively confirmed
bacterial infection (Staph A) as the probable cause of Harry's death. The
Leader in this field even summarised that any other cause of death was
unsustainable. Consequently Dr Innis's theory was not pursued and he was
not called as an expert.

One expert did speculate that vaccination "could" have been
significant in that it could have exacerbated the effect of the bacteria
but otherwise vaccination was not considered an issue.

We the family cannot know whether or not vaccination is a factor but
neither can Dr Innis with such certainty.
If I have any fight left in me it is to try and deter those of the medical
profession, whether hawk or dove, who declare unequivocally that which is
no more than a possibility. By which, if we are not careful, theory
becomes fact. That in my view is the greatest lesson to be learnt from
the Sally Clark case.

I may be unwise to respond again but I did not choose the pitch and I
am anxious that nothing in this case should be interpreted by parents to
deter them from vaccination. Naturally I am also concerned that expert
opinion should be independent and objective and not prejudiced by
speculative theory.

Frank Lockyer

Competing interests:
Retired Chief Superintendent of Police.
Sally Clark's father.

Competing interests: No competing interests

11 February 2005
C Frank Lockyer